Volkswagen's U.S. CEO, Michael Horn, appeared in front of the House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee's Oversight and Investigations subcommittee on Thursday, but instead of revealing the root of the automaker's emissions cheating scandal — which affected 11 million cars — he simply shifted the blame on a group of disgruntled software engineers.
"This was not a corporate decision, from my point of view, and to my best knowledge today," Horn said, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. "This was something individuals did."
He added that Volkswagen hasn't been able to pinpoint these "individuals" or how many were involved in the plot.
Needless to say, the subcommittee's members weren't buying his explanation, with representative Chris Collins (R., N.Y.) calling it "inadequate" and "a sign of arrogance," scolding Horn by telling him that the automaker's leadership is either "incompetent" or "complicit in a massive coverup."
Added representative Frank Pallone (D., N.J.): "We're here because Volkswagen lied. This seems to be a pervasive culture of deception in the auto industry and it has to stop now."
What might be worse than Horn simply pointing his finger at a group of software engineers was him insisting that he was unaware of Volkswagen cheating on U.S. emissions tests last year, even though the Journal reports that he heard of emissions-compliance issues as early as spring of 2014.
"I was not then told, nor did I have any reason to suspect or to believe, that our vehicles included such a device," Horn said, adding that he didn't even know what a "defeat device" was at that point.
On Wednesday (Oct. 7), Volkswagen aimed to begin its massive recall in January and complete it by late December 2016. The recall will make its 11 million faulty diesel vehicles comply with emissions regulations by updating their software and/or providing new car parts. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller didn't even rule out replacing affected vehicles with new ones altogether.